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Calling All Retired or Soon to be Retired Nurses...

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Are You a Nurse Emeritus Member?

All retired VA nurses or those planning to retire in the next 6 months, are cordially invited to join Nurse Emeritus. If this applies to you, click this direct link to join https://www.vanurse.org/page/join

 

The NURSE EMERITUS GROUP exists to support the mission and vision of NOVA through continuing engagement of nurses who have retired or have immediate plans to retire from active employment in the VA.

This group seeks to recognize and value the expertise of retired VA nurses through projects that support working VA nurses and the Veterans they serve. We strive to recognize and celebrate the contribution of retired VA nurses through positive affirmation programs and projects. The dues for NOVA Nurse Emeritus members are $50 per year.

Two projects the Nurse Emeritus Group are currently participating in are the mentoring program and the Mary Raymer Scholarship. Details about both of these projects can be found on the NOVA website.

Join Today! https://www.vanurse.org/page/join

 

Tags:  Emeritus  Mentor group  Nurse Emeritus Group  Retire  Scholarship 

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NOVA 2020 Hill Day Recap

Posted By Nancy Claflin DNP MS RN NEA-BC CENP CCRN-K CPHQ FNAHQ NOVA Nurse Emeritus, Monday, March 16, 2020

NOVA Hill Day

On March 4, 2020, NOVA nurses gathered at the Wink Hotel in Washington, DC and enjoyed dinner at Stoney’s. On Thursday, March 5, NOVA members began the day with a panel presentation. Teresa Morris, NOVA Director of Advocacy and Government Relations, talked with NOVA members about what to expect including preparing for Capitol Hill security, meeting with staffers and representatives, appropriate etiquette including tone of discussion and punctuality, questions about VA Services, priority goals, and talking points. She noted that you should always introduce yourself as a NOVA member and nurse that works at VA and provides exceptional care to Veterans, and let them know what facility you work at, especially if it is in the Congressional Member’s district. Teresa recommended that NOVA members choose two or three of NOVA’s Priority Goals that they are comfortable discussing. She recommended staffing, talking about what is needed at your facility; recruitment and retention, including the need for more human resources staff; and implementation of the VA Mission Act, including access and coordination and the need for nurses to be involved with this process. Teresa also recommended asking if the legislative staff had any questions for you, and if you receive a question that you can’t answer, let them know you will get back to them. This helps to build relationships within the office. She also mentioned leaving the NOVA 2020 Legislative Priority Goals behind and thanking them for meeting with you.  After the meeting, be sure to send a follow up email thanking them again and providing your contact information if they have any questions regarding the goals or anything else you discussed. 

 

Teresa then introduced Congresswoman Lauren Underwood, who serves Illinois’ 14th Congressional District and was sworn into the 116th U.S. Congress on January 3, 2019.  Congresswoman Underwood is the first woman, the first person of color, and the first millennial to represent her community in Congress. She is the youngest African American woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives. Congresswoman Underwood serves on the House Committee on Education and Labor, the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and the House Committee on Homeland Security. She also serves on the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee. Congresswoman Underwood is a member of the Future Forum, a group of young Democratic Members of Congress committed to listening to and standing up for the next generation of Americans, the Congressional Black Caucus, and the LGBT Equality Caucus. As a strong supporter of addressing the gun violence epidemic, she is a member of the Congressional Gun Violence Prevention Taskforce.  Prior to her election to Congress, Congresswoman Underwood worked with a Medicaid plan in Chicago to ensure that it provided high-quality, cost-efficient care. She served as a Senior Advisor at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), helping communities across the country prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters, bioterror threats and public health emergencies. As a career public servant at HHS, Congresswoman Underwood helped implement the Affordable Care Act, broadening access for those on Medicare, improving health care quality, and reforming private insurance. She also taught future nurse practitioners through Georgetown University’s online master’s program. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Johns Hopkins University. 


Congresswoman Underwood noted that this year is the 10th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act which started 3/23/10. She noted that there are changes that need to be made to it, including inappropriate deadlines and errors. There was no opportunity to do cleanup prior to the implementation of the legislation. Congress needs to strengthen the law. There is a challenge to it (Texas vs. U. S.) which seeks to overturn the ACA. In 2017, Congress removed the individual mandate and repealed that portion of the law. The Supreme Court will make the decision. The House is the only part of the federal government that is defending the law. The House members are key defendants and want to improve this legislation in a balanced way, so they are not using words like “strengthening.” We need to fix the reinsurance program, decrease premiums so that the cost doesn’t exceed more than 8.5% of the income; nothing to fundamentally change the bill. Healthcare is the number one topic of concern among all demographic groups. It is driven by cost. For example, for farmers, their number one issue is healthcare. For Veterans who receive healthcare at the VA, they are frustrated due to care being more than an hour away and the need to travel. Congresswoman Underwood also focuses on mental health care and suicide prevention for Veterans. She identified that of the more than 20 suicide deaths by Veterans daily, half of those Veterans aren’t connected to VA. Millions devoted to outreach is ineffective. There is a need to make creative changes. Women’s healthcare in the VA is another significant issue. In her VISN, which includes Hines, a survey of women identified that 25% of them felt harassed when they visited. That isn’t something that can be legislated away. This needs a cultural resolution and increased support. Congress needs to create the authority for those conversations to occur. There needs to be a data driven, evidenced based policy, which is rare on Capitol Hill. There is an article in JAMA that identified how much money would be saved if VA could prescribe contraceptive coverage. She told NOVA members that Congress wants to hear your expertise. You can talk about your practice and day-to-day work. Talk about how your experience as a nurse serves Veterans. When the Congresswoman conducts site visits she talks with providers in clinics one on one and how their work flows every day. The VA Secretary talks about high level metrics with Congress but what you do every day in the clinical setting is what Congress wants to hear so they can give you the appropriate time, space, and resources.

 

 

The Congresswoman is working on legislation for post 9/11 counseling sessions for post 9/11 Veterans. It has been identified that 60% - 70% know somebody who committed suicide, which increased their own risk. Currently, they need to self-identify. We are not treating all individuals at high risk or treating them first. This legislation will allow time in the primary care visit for a basic counseling session with those at high risk to identify social supports. The evidence suggests that could be effective. Currently, there is no time and no space for those conversations. There is also legislation regarding the Mission Act to provide more grant funding to community resources for outreach and clinical referrals, and fund at very high levels, H3495. Congresswoman Underwood thinks that VA is the best place for Veterans to get care and she wants to keep that commitment. Secretary Wilke in his budget request asked for money to be put in for the Mission Act. The Congresswoman is concerned about putting funding into VA and making sure that Veterans receive care. She places a priority on eliminating the copay disparities in the ACA so that vaccines can be obtained without a copayment. That Veterans are required to pay a copay serves as a disincentive. She wants to close that loophole.  There is a lot of legislation that has passed the House, much of it unanimous, that is now just sitting in the Senate. The Senate has not been legislating. The House has passed legislation on issues such as homelessness, economic opportunity, Veterans’ care, quality, and training. There is legislation pending that will look at MOUs to make sure that the community agencies who get funding from VA will be held to the same standards as VA that is sitting in the Senate, having passed the House unanimously. She is also working on legislation to support economic growth and transparency.


A question was asked about the VA’s mission in addition to patient care, supporting research, education, and serving as backup for national emergencies, noting that the VA prepares health educators, with approximately 8200 FTEEs funded annually assisting over half a million students each year, and that funding is jeopardized with continuing resolutions, and that VA needs to be investing in innovation. The Congresswoman noted that the America Cares Act provides 5 years of funding mechanisms for research. It was identified that facilities can’t get funding for staffing to support the Mission Act. Another issue identified was the problem with hiring nurses due to issues with human resources staff. It was also identified that 14 of 18 VISNs are struggling with the budget due to money being held back because it may be needed for community care. The VA has a Hire Right/Hire Fast initiative for RNs but most facilities are not hiring because they don’t have the funds. The Congresswoman recommended that those issues should be reported to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.  She said that the best way to advocate for Veterans is to vote. She also encouraged visiting with House and Senate staff in local district offices, and sending emails or letters because they need to hear from NOVA members. Use of social media is not effective. Don’t assume that they are receiving feedback on their inaction.


After Congresswoman Underwood’s presentation, Teresa introduced Suzanne Miyamoto, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the American Academy of Nursing.  Dr. Miyamoto previously worked at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) as their Chief Policy Officer, overseeing the strategy and operations of Health Policy, Higher Education Policy, Government Affairs, Strategic Outreach and Analytics, and Diversity and Inclusion. She was also heavily involved in AACN’s external outreach and grant process. During her tenure at AACN, Dr. Miyamoto was instrumental in formalizing and leading the Nursing Community Coalition (NCC), a partnership of nursing associations that advocates on healthcare issues.  She is a 2014 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow and has been an adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University, School of Nursing and Health Studies as well as at the University of Maryland, School of Nursing and lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, School of Nursing. Additionally, she is a member of the Editorial Board for the journal Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice. Previously, she held policy positions at the state and federal level with the National Institutes of Health, the State Commission on Patient Safety for the Michigan Health and Safety Coalition, and former United States Congressman Joseph Knollenberg. 


Dr. Miyamoto thanked NOVA nurses for what they do daily for Veterans. She noted that it was fortunate that Congresswoman Underwood was on the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee because she knows Veterans issues so well. She has also made a commitment to support nursing, and is a voice on the Hill. Dr. Miyamoto highlighted Dr. Linda Schwartz from the VA who was confirmed by the Senate as the VA’s Assistance Secretary for Policy and Planning in 2014. A disabled Air Force Veteran, she worked to make the VA more veteran-focused, noting that the mission of the VA is to ensure Veterans have the very best in care and services, as they have earned them and deserve them. She encouraged the Academy’s focus on “Have you ever served?” which encourages all private sector providers to screen patients to identify Veterans in order to screen for issues such as exposure to burn pits and risk of suicide. She noted that it takes nursing’s voice to help members of Congress understand these issues. She noted that Congress doesn’t understand the Corona virus, including how preparation should be done and what it could look like if it isn’t addressed appropriately. She noted that Congress provided $8.3 billion in funding for the virus, and it’s important for NOVA nurses to share their expertise with Congress because they don’t have the expertise. They aren’t familiar with the latest literature. Regarding the virus, she noted that Dr. Kathy Gorman from Children’s Medical Center in Washington, DC said that “We can fear or we can care.”  VA nurses are the voice of advocacy, not just in the halls of Congress but in public, too. The public needs to hear our calm voice in times of crisis. She noted that Congressional staff members have a portfolio of issues that they are responsible for, even the staff of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee. She noted that the Committee members and the staff don’t know what VA nurses know because they just hear from the Secretary. She thanked NOVA nurses for their advocacy and leadership.


VA nurses were then taken by bus to Capitol Hill, where they talked with Congressional staff throughout the day.  At the end of the day, the bus returned and a debriefing was held. NOVA nurses acknowledged a successful day in Congress, sharing NOVA’s Legislative Priorities and other information and answering questions from legislative staff members. Legislative staff members wanted to hear from NOVA members and asked what Congress could do to support Veterans. It was identified that it would be helpful for future visits to have a list of initiatives and projects to share, as well as a list of legislation that NOVA supported, and legislation that NOVA didn’t support.  After the debriefing, members enjoyed a networking dinner at the Grillfish Restaurant.


NOVA members in attendance included Nancy Claflin, Sherry Clement, Grace Conley, Vanessa Coronel, Raquell Garrett, Catherine Giasson, Pandolla Hicks, Alma Holley, Alma Houlditch, scholarship winner Ashley Jones, Agnes Kaje, Margaret Kruckemeyer, Stella Lebrun, Carol McTavish, Leticia Mickens, Martha Moreno, Betty Ogren, scholarship winner Steven Powell, Theresa Presley, Faith Santiago, Michella Savoy-Carter, Thelma Roach-Serry, Beverly Ross, Michelle Salazar, Kelly Skinner, Yvette Twum-Danso, and TJ Wilcox-Olson.  


 

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2020 Legislative Priority Goals

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Thursday, February 13, 2020

 

The Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs (NOVA) is the professional organization for nurses employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Our members are the frontline faces who provide the best care for Veterans. The following legislative priority goals identify several areas we feel need attention to continue providing the best care for our Nation’s Veterans.

 

Budget:

  • Ensure an adequate budget that provides critical funding so that all VISNs and Medical Facilities can provide care and services to its population.
  • Optimize all VA resources to affect and achieve value in models of care.
  • Support appropriate funding of Community Care Accounts. 

Access /Community Care Network:

  • Maximize Veteran access to care through effective use of technology, efficient clinical practice and role enhancement for all nursing personnel.
  • Monitor implementation of VA Mission/Community Care Network.
  • Require that training, competency and quality standards for Community Care Network providers are equal to those of VHA providers.
  • Implement a care coordination system allowing Veterans to return with ease back to the VA when resources are available.
  •  Ensure staffing levels that affect community care referrals and coordination are met.
  • Continue providing ongoing training for VHA personnel and all community providers to improve the coordination of care, understanding of military culture and health care needs across networks.

Staffing/Recruitment and Retention:

  • Recruit and retain a highly qualified nursing workforce with a budget to support modern staffing models.
  • Offer opportunity for career advancement/growth for all levels of nursing within the VA to retain a highly qualified nursing workforce.
  • Ensure HR has essential staff in order to review and streamline policies and procedures to improve the efficiency and speed of the hiring process.
  •  Mandate training for HR personnel on use of Locality Pay, and congressional authorizations to improve entire hiring process.
  • Monitor HR Centralization at the VISN level.
  • Increase Salary Caps and support competitive wages for ALL levels of Nursing.

Tags:  CCN  Community Care  Electronic Health Record  Recruitment  VA MISSION  VA Modernization  VHA 

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Congratulations to the 2020 Scholarship Winners

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Thursday, February 13, 2020

NOVA on the Hill Day Scholarship Awardees are Selected! 

Two scholarships will be awarded in the amount of $250 each for the following two nurses to attend NOVA on the Hill Day on March 5, 2020. 

Congratulations to:

Ashley N. Jones, MS, BSN, RN, OCN, CHPN
VA Maryland Healthcare System

Steven D. Powell, MSN, BSN, BA, RN-BC
Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center


Criteria for the scholarships:

Applicant must be a member of NOVA for one (1) year. Must attend NOVA on the Hill Day 2020. Scholarship recipients will be required to submit to NOVA within 30 days after the conclusion of NOVA on the Hill Day 2020 a written narrative describing: How they plan to use and/or have used their experience at NOVA on the Hill Day 2020 and why they would return to NOVA on the Hill Day in the future.

Current members of the NOVA Board of Directors are not eligible to apply


Tags:  2020 Scholarship  NOVA  NOVA on the Hill  VA 

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NOVA Chapter 226: VA Boston Healthcare System

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Thursday, February 13, 2020

NOVA Chapter 226

VA Boston Healthcare System

Kelly D. Skinner, DNP, APRN, NP-C, GNP-BC, CRRN, WCC, CFCN

Get Together

Some of our NOVA Chapter 226 Board Members met after work on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at Joe’s American Bar & Grill in Dedham, MA. Since several board members were recently elected, we took this opportunity to discuss the role and expectations of the board members over dinner. We also started planning future events. Our chapter just purchased a popcorn maker and will be having several popcorn socials in the near future. Stay tuned!

                                                       

Certification

Congratulations to Maytilda (May) Park! She just recently obtained the Wound Care Certified  (WCC) Certification from The National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy. May is a NOVA member who works as a registered nurse on the long-term care spinal cord injury unit at the VA Boston Healthcare System.

   

 

Red Sox Nurse Night

NOVA Boston Nurses are going to Red Sox Nurse Night on May 20th at Fenway Park. The Red Sox are playing the Tampa Bay Rays at 7:10pm. We are already looking forward to a fun-filled evening at the ballpark. ROOT! ROOT! ROOT! for Nurses!

                                                                                           

Tags:  Certification  Chapter 226  Get Together  Maytilda Park  Red Sox Nurse Night  VA Boston Healthcare System 

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A Message from Our President

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Thursday, February 13, 2020

 

                                                    

 

Dear NOVA Members,

Have you ever thought about using your knowledge and experience as a nurse to advocate for improving VA health care beyond the local facility level, at the state or national level? Does policy and advocacy interest you? If so, you should seize the opportunity to join us, your fellow NOVA members, at NOVA on the Hill Day on March 5th Click Here to Register and NOVA’s Annual Legislative Roundtable Click Here to RSVP on March 6th in Washington, D.C. Getting involved and creating change can have a significant positive impact on both your professional development and Veterans’ care.

Nurses instinctively protect their patients’ rights and welfare. They are advocates for quality of care improvements, and are in an ideal position to engage in political activism. However, this isn’t a new concept. Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, also known as The Lady with the Lamp, utilized evidence and political tactics to improve sanitary health conditions for the British soldiers during the Crimean War which led to changes in the health care delivery system.

If nurses don’t participate, policy decisions will be made without nursing input, which is unacceptable. Decision makers need to hear from nurses. The Institute of Medicine’s Report, The Future of Nursing: Leading change, Advancing Healthcalled for an increase in leadership from nurses at all levels, including front line staff nurses to nurse executives. All nurses can demonstrate their role as a leader by serving as an advocate and addressing public policy through the legislative process. Don’t underestimate the power of sharing your personal experiences. Politicians want to know how legislative issues affect their constituents. 


Having a voice on Capitol Hill is pivotal, and NOVA is the Voice of VA Nurses on Capitol Hill. Therefore, we must band together to improve health outcomes and effect change. There is power in numbers. The VA employs more than 80, 0000 nurses, so we should be a force not to be reckoned with. I encourage you to participate in advocacy and policy to strengthen NOVA Nurses’ impact in Washington D.C. by attending NOVA on the Hill Day and NOVA’s Annual Legislative Roundtable in March 2020. These are wonderful opportunities for you to meet face-to-face with your representatives in Congressmen and Senators from professional nursing organizations as well as Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs). Don’t miss out!

In closing, I would like to thank you for providing exceptional care day in and day out to America’s heroes across this great nation. Your passion is commendable. 

With appreciation,


Kelly D. Skinner, DNP, APRN, NP-C, GNP-BC, CRRN, WCC, CFCN

 

Tags:  Capitol Hill  health care  Hill Day  Kelly Skinner  NOVA  NOVA on the Hill Day  Nurses  President  Roundtable  VA  VSO 

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NOVA Member of the Month

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Wednesday, February 12, 2020

     

Betty M. Ogren, LPN

 

 

Betty M. Ogren is an active NOVA member and the first LPN to serve as a NOVA Board of Director. She functions as a Patient Aligned Care Team (PACT) LPN at the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System (VANIHCS) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. As a nurse, who cares for our Nation’s heroes every day, Betty is committed to enhancing access, coordinating care and improving the health care provided to our Veterans. She is passionate about developing her leadership skills and making a difference. Honesty, Integrity, Hard-working, Dedication and Advocacy are key characteristics that are extremely important to her. Betty recognizes the significant role nurses play in health care innovations and the delivery of care and is committed to influencing change in the VA and the profession of nursing.

On February 13, 2020, Betty was notified that she was awarded the full Nurse In Washington Internship (NIWI) scholarship which covers airfare expenses, up to three nights lodging expenses, and the registration fee for the conference. She can’t wait to attend NIWI in March 2020 so she can learn more about the legislative process, advocacy, health care policy, and Capitol Hill meetings while networking with other nurses who are also interested in influencing health care in the legislative arena. Congratulations, Betty!

 



Tags:  Betty Orgren  Feburary  Member of the month  NOVA  nurse  VA 

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Certified Nursing Impacting Quality, Safety & Practice

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Shawn Meadows BSN, RN, CWON

NOVA Chapter 308

Charles George VA Medical Center Asheville,NC  

I am a Certified Wound Ostomy Nurse (CWON) at the Charles George VA Medical Center, and am also proud to be a NOVA member. I am currently serving my third year as a board member for the Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB). WOCNCB is the certifying body for wound, ostomy, continence, and foot care nursing. They are  accredited by ABSNC and NCCA and are included in the VA Office of Nursing Services recommended certification list.

Board certification is a voluntary process that requires consistent evaluations of a nurse’s professional knowledge and skills in specialties beyond RN licensure. WOCNCB certified nurses provide cost-effective and high-quality care by bringing real solutions and benefits to organizations and their patients to maintain strong clinical practice components along with education for each of the specialties. WOCNCB is honored to be an associate member of NOVA offering a 30% fee reduction for initial wound, ostomy, continence, or foot care examinations for VA nurses. Information regarding this discount can be found at http://wocncb.org/special-announcements/welcome-va-and-dod-nurses

Over the last year, I have served as a course coordinator for the WOCN Wound Treatment Associate (WTA) Program which was designed to provide specialized education to enhance nurses’ abilities to provide optimal wound care to patients with acute and chronic wounds. The Charles George VA Medical Center had several registered nurses complete the WTA program.

Jocelyn Turner is an RN and NOVA member of Chapter 308  who earned her WTA certificate in January 2020. Jocelyn works on a busy medical oncology unit, and we look forward to her becoming WOCNCB certified as a WTA and sharing her expertise in wound treatment with her colleagues.

2018 WOCN Society Conference

Shawn Meadows, BSN, RN, CWON (left)


2019 WOCNCB Fall Board Meeting

Shawn Meadows, BSN, RN, CWON (center)

 Jocelyn Turner, MSN, RN

WTA Graduate and NOVA Member


Tags:  blog  certified  CWON  NOVA  nursing  Ostomy  Ouality  practice  safety  Shawn Meadows  WOCN  WOCNCB  WTA 

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Thinking About Going Back to School?

Posted By Ashley Lovelace, Wednesday, February 12, 2020

                                                  

Do you know about the partnership that Excelsior College has with NOVA?  Read more here  about the current discounts and partnership advantages that are available to you. Excelsior offers associates, bachelor’s and master’s in Nursing and Heath Sciences. Now is the time to focus on your educational and career goals.  

If you are a veteran, Excelsior College specializes in serving the academic needs of military and veteran students. Excelsior is ranked Best for Vets, 10 years running! With our Center for Military and Veterans Education, active duty military, spouses, and veterans are in good hands with educational professionals who know and understand your educational and career needs. Click here to find out more about how to utilize your GI Bill and more about Excelsior College programs and services.

If you think going back to school is going to be too difficult with all the current obligations, responsibilities and goals you already have, read this article about a U.S. Sailor who balanced it all!  She balanced her service to our Country, her family and earned three degrees. Just when you thought you had too much on your plate, there was someone that showed you it can be done!  Or read about Laura Davis who turned her tragedy into a passion for nursing. Our students are amazing, just like you. Join our Excelsior family today! outreach@excelsior.edu 

                                                     

Tags:  Excelsior College  Laura Davis  Military  NOVA  partnership  Veterans 

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2020 Year of the Nurse | Self-Care

Posted By Samantha Kresz, Friday, February 7, 2020

In the year 2020, nurses are being recognized for their hard work and dedication to our healthcare system. That is why this year has been designated as the ‘Year of the Nurse.’ The initiative was spearheaded by the World Health Organization (WHO) in honor of the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing, but the recognition goes beyond just her. It is a tribute to all nurses who play a critical role in health promotion, disease prevention, and who are on the front lines of healthcare. They play an essential role in providing high-quality care to humans all across the globe.

As a way to show our gratitude for all our incredible VA nurses who work so hard every day, we wanted to take this opportunity to remind you to take a moment for yourselves. Occupational stressors can occur on a daily basis, and that is why nurse self-care is so important. It is a necessity when it comes to physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. We know first hand that nurses give the best care to patients when they are operating at their own peak wellness. So here is a list of tips we have put together on how to implement self-care into your routine. 

During your workdays:

  • Listen to music when you are at your desk or on your break - music is a known stress reliever and can give you the momentum you need to continue the rest of your day.
  • Take a moment to relax at your desk, meditate and drink some herbal tea or hot lemon water.
  • Take a short break to stretch or go for a 10-minute walk.
  • Repeat a personal mantra (a word or phrase with a spiritual meaning) to yourself when stressed. This is an innovative form of stress management that is portable, immediate, and inexpensive.
  • If you have children or a family member you’ve been wanting to catch up with, take a moment to call them and ask them how their day is. Tell them if you’re having a good day or a bad day. You can use this time as a mini therapy session if needed.
  • Download a new podcast about a topic that interests you, and listen to it when you are working at your desk.
  • Bring a nutritious snack or lunch with you to work and enjoy it while reading your favorite book.
  • Keep a journal with you at work for times when you feel stressed and need a way to release it.
  • Practice mental imagery or visualization.
  • Use breathing exercises to center yourself. 

During your days off: 

  • Take a bubble bath with some relaxing salts to help your weary muscles have a break.
  • Check into the spa for a massage, pedicure, or other relaxing treatment.
  • Spend 20 minutes reading about a new hobby you’d like to get started on soon.
  • Call an old friend you’ve been wanting to catch up with.
  • Go to a nearby yoga studio, dance space, or spin class for a recharging workout.
  • Cozy up to your cat, dog, or even a nice, big pillow.
  • Take a good old-fashioned nap.
  • Go for a run or walk around your neighborhood or to your local park. 
  • Go catch that movie you’ve been dying to see.
  • Put on a favorite record you used to love in high school and take a trip down memory lane.

These are all easy suggestions that you can add to your lifestyle on a daily or monthly basis. We encourage you to start your self-care journey right now! Schedule a block of time in your day to take for yourself and commit to it. Again, self-care for nurses is not a luxury. It is a necessity for the health and well-being of both VA nurses and their patients. Remember, it is ok for you to need time for YOU. After all, 2020 is the ‘Year of the Nurse.’

 

Tags:  NOVA  Nurse  Self-Care  Year of the Nurse 

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